Whoever is elected president on Nov. 8 has to deal with an acrimonious divide at the heart of the American union. To heal this breach, we have to become smarter about our personal psychology.
Everyone’s at least a little quirky and irrational. We often accept and like each other for the ways we’re different, peculiar, eccentric, and even weak. Americans are remarkable for generosity, honestly, and kind spirit. The country’s vitality is enriched by flamboyant, loveable characters. But the character of so many millions of citizens has darkened and blackened in the past few decades, to the point that the nation is drifting into self-defeat.
While dysfunctional people can often appear normal on the surface, they harbor deep grievances. They’re closing in on themselves, feeling bitter, mean, cynical, suspicious, and uncivil. Their thin-skinned psyche cracks open at the tiniest real or imagined offense to suck in the impression of being criticized, disrespected, refused, oppressed, or controlled. Enough Americans are doing this to constitute an epidemic of neurosis.
Being dysfunctional or neurotic has nothing to do with whether a person is liberal or conservative, rich or poor, black or white. All these groups are riddled with neurotics, who are everyday people in emotional pain due to unresolved inner conflict. The more intense their inner conflict, the more neurotic they are, and the more they are thereby likely to betray their own and the nation’s ideals. [Read more…]